“!” was the massage I got on Monday, the 30th of September, at work. Luckily I was able to leave with another friend immediately on Tuesday morning. After some adventurous problems with the car we finally arrived at Ostional in the afternoon. Although it is a small village in the province of Guanacaste, approximately 50 kilometers far away of Nicoya and directly at the Pacific Ocean, it is very typical for that region and because of that very charming. Furthermore there is everything you need if you want to stay there – apartments, two little restaurants, one bar and one supermarket. On that Tuesday unfortunately only 2 turtles were at the black, volcanic beach when we arrived. But it had been great to see them in real and watch them digging their eggs into the sand. Because of only having the opportunity to stay for one night, we were really afraid of just seeing a few of them and not hundreds or even thousands as it happens to appear during a real “arribada”. So we went to bed with a mixture of fear, hope and confidence. Finally it was 5 o´clock in the morning when we went to the beach and our first gaze – no turtles anywhere! But as we looked at the left and the right side, it was just amazing!!!! Hundreds of the turtles were at the beach and the more were coming out of the Pacific Ocean! It was incredible and we couldn´t believe that this was for real. Furthermore we really had luck, because one hour later due to the rising sun, almost no turtle was at the beach anymore! Moreover every time the turtles arrive it is a mercy for the local people there, too, because within the first three days of the “arribada” they have the permission to collect the eggs of the turtles to sell them. Those earnings in turn are very important because about 30 % of this money is spent on security teams which are necessary at the beach to avoid robbery of the eggs after the permitted three days. The largest “arribada” recorded in Ostional occurred in November 1995 when approximately 500.000 turtles arrived. Those “arribadas” in general take place once a month the week before new moon for three to six days and within thirty minutes each turtle dig their nest and lays 80-100 white eggs which are the exact size. But the small turtles and even the eggs do have a lot of natural predators, for example eagles, ownerless dogs and the more in the sea. Only a very small number survives and because of that protecting them is very important.
So all in all you never know for sure how many turtles will arrive during an “arribada” period, but if you really want to join this natural phenomenon you need a little bit of time, patience and luck.